This will be the fourth country in which I've chaired a WSFS Business Meeting (USA, UK, Canada, and now Japan) and my fifth time in the hot seat overall (1995 Glasgow, 2002 San Jose, 2003 Toronto, 2006 Anaheim, 2007 Yokohama). I think only two other living people (Tim Illingworth and Don Eastlake) have presided over meetings in more than one country. (I include the caveat about "living" as Bruce Pelz presided over the meetings in The Hague as well as several US Worldcons. Before then, I have no records and do not know what happened.)
I've also held all of the other head table positions (Deputy Chair and/or Parliamentarian, Secretary, Timekeeper) at least once. Indeed, since the late Ross Pavlac gave me my "big break" and accepted me at Timekeeper of the 1991 Business Meeting in Chicago, the only years I have not on the head table in some function are 1999 Melbourne (was leading the BDP Split amendment team), 2004 (involved with 2-year lead time amendment), and 2005 (Events/WSFS Division Manager; couldn't double-hat, and beisdes, Tim Illingworth had dibs on the job).
The complete list through next year is:
1996 Deputy Chair/Parliamentarian
1998 Timekeeper [Emergency Holographic]
1999 [Not on head table]
2000 Deputy Chair/Parliamentarian
2001 Deputy Chair/Parliamentarian
2004 [Not on head table]
2005 [Not on head table]
A story I've told before is how I was first allowed onto the head table by Ross Pavlac. At that time (early 1991), I was probably viewed as, at best, a West Coast version of Robert Sacks, a notorious Business Meeting gadfly, and Bruce Pelz made up his Standing Rule Two, which was "Shut Up, Kevin" (Rule One was "Shut up, Robert") due to my hogging the floor on minor technical matters. Ross came to the 1991 BayCon. I mentioned to him that I'd seen an item in the Chicon V progress report advertising for a Business Meeting Timekeeper, and that I'd be interested in applying for it.
He asked, "What is the one piece of equipment the Timekeeper must have?"
Wondering if this was a trick question, I answered, "A stopwatch?"
"You're hired," he said. Apparently a previous Business Meeting with which he'd been involved had been delayed by a would-be timekeeper failing to bring any sort of timekeeping device.
I bought a stopwatch for the 1991 Worldcon Business Meeting. I still have it. In fact, I think probably the majority of Worldcons since then have used that stopwatch, which I keep brining with me along with the (now rather the worse for wear) bell to sound when time runs out. I've only had to replace the battery in the stopwatch once or twice that I recall, but then, I don't use it for much of anything else. (I also bought the gavel that is the current Gavel of WSFS, but that's another story.)
I thank Nippon 2007 for entrusting me with such an important position, and, as I've done in the past, hope to live up to that trust.